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Major UK tech firm ARM ceases business with Huawei

Manny Pham
May 23, 2019

ARM’s chip designs are used in most processors in electronic devices. They are in Huawei smartphones and telecoms equipment

UK-based chip designer ARM has suspended all business with Huawei, in the wake of the Chinese vendor being blacklisted by the US government.

According to emails seen by the BBC all ARM employees are to stop “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei and its subsidiaries to comply with the recent US trade sanction.

A company memo said ARM’s designs contain “US Origin technology”, which consequently is affected by the trade sanction enforced by the Trump administration.

The majority of processors made and used across electronic devices are from ARM designs.

One analyst described the ban, if it became long-term, as an “insurmountable” blow to Huawei’s business.

It will badly affect the firm’s ability to develop its own chips, many of which are currently built with ARM’s technology, for which it pays a licence.

ARM’s technology is also used in Huawei 5G base stations and computer servers in addition to its smartphones.

Cambridge-headquartered ARM is one of the UK’s largest technology firms until its takeover by a Japanese fund. It employs 6,000 workers and has eight offices in the US.

An ARM spokesperson said: “ARM is complying with the latest restrictions set forth by the US government and is having ongoing conversations with the appropriate US government agencies to ensure we remain compliant.

“ARM values its relationship with our long-time partner HiSilicon and we are hopeful for a swift resolution on this matter.”

Huawei added: “We value our close relationships with our partners, but recognise the pressure some of them are under, as a result of politically motivated decisions,” it said.

“We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved and our priority remains to continue to deliver world-class technology and products to our customers around the world.”

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